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  • Writer's pictureJoel Shapiro

Thrift Shopping on Vacation

Thrift Shopping is fun for both residents and visitors looking to add to their collectibles or vintage items, bargain hunters looking to snatch up top quality items for a minimal price, and sustainability advocates that know items can be repurposed many times over. Thrift stores have something for everyone and the money generated by the stores’ fund other community projects.

I started volunteering at The Good Neighbor Thrift Store in Navarre in October 2020. This store is an outreach of the Navarre United Methodist Church and funds the We Care Ministry and the Lindy Bush Food Pantry. As a service to Grocery-Concierge customers staying on Navarre Beach, I offer to pick up any unused food items and donate them to the local Food Pantry. This service helps the families to quickly pack up and clean out their rental units and reduces waste at the condo units and county disposal sites.

Pictured below is a donation of fresh items I delivered and then picked up for donation. The food pantry was able to give these items out to families this summer and many of the items were special treats for the families. (Donation occurred before branding change—Organized Occasions Concierge is now Grocery Concierge.)

Grocery Concierge Food Donation Program for Visitors

I interviewed the store manager, Laura Beth Snow, to find out more about the store, its customers, and how the funds raised help families in Navarre.

Fun Facts: The current store location was purchased and moved into in August of 2011. The store’s profits are used to fund the We Care Ministry and the Lindy Bush Food Pantry as well as other mission projects of the church.

Began as Kitchen Aide Ministry in 1990, the name changed to Salt & Soul and eventually to We Care in 1997. We Care assists families with utilities, housing, food, and prescriptions. Contact information is below if you know a family that needs assistance.

Over the years many faithful volunteers have given of their time and often donations to help this vital ministry. One extraordinary volunteer was Lindy Bush and his wife, Sue. Lindy’s passion to work at and keep the food pantry supplied often meant volunteering over 30 hours per week. Lindy passed away in 2015 at the age of 87, and soon thereafter the We Care Board of Directors voted to name the food pantry, The Lindy Bush Food Pantry. His work continues to inspire those who serve each week at the Good Neighbor Thrift Store and We Care Ministry. (A special thanks to Lorraine Taylor, Linda Germany, and Sue Bush for the background information.)

Currently, the Lindy Bush Food Pantry provides food to 12 families per week. Each family receives all the ingredients needed for 3 family dinners (recipe cards included). Having volunteered at other food pantries I am so glad the food is not just a box of random items but is packaged to provide all the ingredients needed for family meals. If you have read some of my other blogs you know I am a big proponent of families sharing meals and preparing home-cooked meals for both the nutritional value and the social and emotional benefits to all members of the family.

Thrift Shopping on Vacation

Is there such a thing as “thrift tourism”? Absolutely! You may be looking for unique souvenirs or thoughtful gifts at a fraction of the price. You may NEED a piece of clothing if the weather changes suddenly and unlike most retail stores, thrift stores are filled with items to wear right now not “next season”. And you may just want something to do on a rainy afternoon when you can’t play on the beach.

When you go thrift store shopping you should be both “open to possibilities” and “shop with a plan”.

Remember that thrift stores have unique items and usually only one of them. You may find a vintage edition of your best friend’s favorite book or a piece of vintage Fiesta ware in the perfect shade, but if you need a larger size pair of Lucky Jeans, you may be out of luck!

Keep a list of things you would like to find while traveling and BOLO (be on the lookout). Here are a few ideas:

  1. Pop Art

  2. Vinyl Records

  3. Comic Books

  4. Metal Signs (I am looking for beer signs for my son—if you see any, let me know!)

  5. Mid-century Barware or Tableware

  6. Vintage Dresses

  7. Jewelry

  8. Vintage Dishware (Fiesta, Chinoiserie, Pyrex)

  9. Candlesticks and Vases

Shopping stores away from home will give you the chance to experience the area like a local, while also finding different items that you would never find back home. You’ll never find “beachy items” back in the mountains of Colorado.

One of the more unique things about shopping at a thrift store in a vacation spot is that many of the customers are looking for items they NEED or WANT in their vacation rental unit. For instance, if you are staying in a beach condo and would like to make a large lasagna but there is not a large glass casserole dish, you may be able to pick up one at the thrift store for just a couple of dollars.

Other vacation items may include paperback books (go ahead and read a cheap romance novel while resting under the beach umbrella) games and puzzles for the kids to enjoy at night, and a wide range of DVDs. If you are a crafter you may find some fabric or needlepoint projects to take home at a fraction of the price.

If the weather turns bad and you need a sweater or if you forgot to pack a pair of shoes to wear to dinner, check out the local thrift store for in-season items. You know you have plenty of sweaters back home, but everyone needs something to wear today and you may find you score a high-quality piece of clothing at a bargain price! If you strike out at the thrift store, you can still visit the local souvenir shop or department store.

Supporting local thrift stores can be fun for the whole family. Just remember to “Mask Up” before heading into the store and take your time. Now is not the time to “power-shop” but instead browse and stroll and find some treasures (like a pirate! Ahoy Mates!)

Thrift Shopping and Donating Tips for Residents

Shopping Tips:

  1. Season Change-Donations Increase- When families are spring cleaning or clearing out space for new items after the holidays, they donate A LOT so inventory is best at those times.

  2. Inventory is Constantly Changing- almost every item is “one of a kind” so if you see it and like it today, buy it today. The worst case is the item doesn’t fit, or the colors aren’t just what you wanted and you have to donate it back (remember you are helping others in the community with your purchases).

  3. Pay attention to Store Sales-stores often have monthly sales or at least put something on sale each day. If you are lucky to be in the store during one of these sales, take full advantage!

Donation Tips:

  1. Broke is Broke—All electronics are checked before being put out on the floor and broken items are disposed of. Please save the volunteers time by not donating items that need repair. Unfortunately, we do not have the time or space to repair items before putting them out for sale.

  2. Donate items that are clean, free of stains, and not torn or damaged—Again due to limited space and time we cannot clean up kitchen items (George Foreman grills, waffle makers, blenders) and we only sell towels and linens that are in good condition.

  3. Know which items sell fastest-Women’s Blouses (about 1/3 of the store income is from ladies’ tops). Metal Pots & Pans. Linens. Home Décor (wall art, pictures, lamps, small furniture). Mixed Dishes and Glasses (NOT china sets). Infant Clothes. Craft Items (quilting/sewing, needlework, ribbon, yarn). These are the items most appreciated when donated.

  4. Bring items to donate when you come to shop-this helps you to assess what you have and to avoid overfilling your home with unnecessary items. As a professional home organizer, I recommend using the 1 in and 1 out rule, or if you are trying to reduce your items, 2 items out for every 1 item brought in. Your donations help keep the store stocked with new items for other shoppers and you’ll also feel like you did a good deed even if you don’t get a good deal on this visit.

Volunteer Opportunities:

Do you enjoy sorting and organizing? You may be surprised by the number of donations a store receives and all items must be sorted and checked before being placed in the store to sell. Your time could be used sorting kitchen items (knife sets & blocks, glasses, dishes) clothing (men’s, women’s, and children’s) accessories (shoes, belts, purses, sunglasses) home & holiday décor, and sporting goods. Since COVID-19 many of the retirees that filled these volunteer positions are unable to assist at this time. Ask about volunteer opportunities the next time you visit one of your local thrift stores. Typically volunteers give 3 to 4 hours at a time once or twice a week.

Thrift Stores in Santa Rosa County:

Good Neighbor Thrift Store

9025 Navarre Parkway

Navarre, FL 32566



M: 12-4

W & F: 9-4

S: 9-4

Like and Follow the store on Facebook

We Care Ministry

For assistance, please call 850-939-1005, Monday-Friday 10: 00 am to 2:00 pm or email

Elite Repeats & Boutique

868 Gulf Breeze Parkway

Gulf Breeze, FL


Helping Hand Mission

Interfaith Ministry

Waterfront Thrift Store

I hope you enjoy learning about options available for Thrift Tourism in Navarre and the surrounding area. Unlike other retail your purchases your dollars are multiplied many times over to benefit others in the community. Thank you and happy shopping!

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